Background on the main issues. Last year my wife bought an OTTB from a children's camp. He was 8, and we weren't sure at the time if he was off track or not. Turns out he is, ran a bunch of times, made a bit of money. Nothing spectacular. But at the time he was an ASS, herd sour, I found I didn't like him at all. This was before we were married. After the wedding and when summer started, he went to a gal that she had worked with at her previous job who was by college degree able to train. She got him a lot more well mannered, but he was still above my skill.
So we hauled him back out here to KS where he stood around for most of six months with no riding. I got on him a couple times but didn't accomplish anything other than thinking that I had no idea what to do. Last month my brother came down and got on him, and progressed a bunch in one day. Gave me some ideas, and I got on him a couple more times, made some progress but nothing great still.
Then I went back to my brother's house and we got to talking. The wife and I had decided that if after riding him from now til the end of summer, if he wasn't any good yet, it was time for him to go. My brother suggested that within 60 days of DAILY riding we'd have one of two things: a decent riding horse, or wife would say it's time for him to go.
Until this point, she'd spent a fair bit of time lunging him because he's good at it, and she's simply not a confident enough rider to get on him. However, I am. Brother says "She needs to STOP lunging that horse, if she wants to lunge something, have her lunge YOUR horse. He's the one who can use it."
So I came home and presented the idea to her. We have a trail coming up in May that's two days. Wife's old grey horse just won't tackle two days of trails, his cancer is progressing far enough he's pretty much a pasture ornament. My deal was if I ride him daily until then and she still can't get on him to ride for that trail, then it's time for him to go. So far (this started the 14th of this month), he's doing pretty well.
He was obviously broke English, and I rode him in a snaffle some, switched to a hack when my pop found his and wore a hole in his nose, and am back to a snaffle for now. Tried a curb for a couple days and that was ok, but I don't like pulling on him too much with it, and the snaffle isn't any worse.
So what I've learned from here recently, KEEP HIM OFF THE LUNGING, ride the snot out of him (I'm spending about an hour a day on him right now). He's learning to WALK, he likes to do a walk/trot combo that hurts to ride, especially when coming back to the house when we're done, and stand. He's a joy at a trot, and is doing better at doing a slow lope without putting his head in the bit and taking off.
What I need to do is try keeping less reign on him and let him take off and STOP him rather ubruptly. We do lots of circles when he doesn't like to stand. Yesterday was the best he's ever done with standing.
Now my main problem at this point is getting on in the first place. I'm a hefty guy, 5'10, and the horse is about 16.1. It takes a bit to get on a horse at all, and this one won't stand. If I lead him up to my tail gate, he'll walk in a circle enough til I can sort of hop on and get going. He stands fine when we're at his head, or once I get on, but once I move back toward the stirrups to get on, he starts going circles around me. That's where I need the most help.
And any other suggestions that can be made are appreciated.